FARMING MATTERS: Cleaning up the countryside

Fly tipping.  Picture: Sarah Standing
Fly tipping. Picture: Sarah Standing

The NFU says the government’s new Litter Strategy for England is a missed opportunity to tackle the scourge of fly-tipping as an environmental crime.

The strategy intends to curb littering with proposals for new enforcement, education and community engagement to reduce the £800m burden to the taxpayer of clean up costs.

NFU deputy president Minette Batters said: “On face value, one of the new proposals to force fly tippers to clean up their own rubbish via community service is a step in the right direction, but this would rely on the perpetrators being caught and prosecuted first.

“This is a fundamental problem because the NFU does not believe that existing powers for enforcement are being fully utilised, so we are pressing the Magistrates’ Association to ensure its members are fully aware of the requirements of the Environmental Offences Definitive Guidelines. Magistrates need to make full use of their sentencing powers and provide a real deterrent against fly tipping.”

Ms Batters said fly tipping is a serious issue that many farmers have to deal with on a daily basis. She said only with the collaboration of all parties - local authorities, police, land owners and the Environment Agency working together - can the problem be fully cleaned up and the countryside protected.